How emerging technology is boosting access to education in India
In the last few years, we have witnessed a paradigm shift towards EdTech, and this trend is expected to further strengthen in the days to come. Digital interventions have broken one of the biggest barriers in the education sector- lack of accessibility. With rapid digitalization and over 5000 EdTech startups across the learning lifecycle, online education is taking center stage in India and worldwide.
There are disparities in education between schools in urban areas and rural areas in India. This disparity widened during the Covid19 pandemic, when schools and educational institutes were forced to shut down. The National Achievement Survey of 2021 found that nearly half of primary school students have learning levels lower than appropriate for their grades. This issue also intensified during the pandemic.
According to a 2021 World Economic Forum Paper, at least 24 million children, predominantly girls, may never return to school. Filling these gaps in education is the need of the hour in order to promote sustainable learning environments for all.
The most prevailing issue here is the lack of accessibility to education for all. Digital learning can help narrow down the disparities in the education system and ensure education for all. Technology has proved its power across sectors, and education is no exception.
There are multiple ways in which AI technology is a big boon to the EdTech industry. It helps teachers and professors tailor learning material, make learning more engaging and allows students to give feedback virtually. With AI, universities in collaboration with EdTech firms are providing personalized learning experiences, which can track students’ performances and activities in real time.
Augment & Virtual Reality
AR and VR technologies are making learning interactive and engaging, giving a classroom-like experience in the virtual world. The technology works by layering digital content onto a graphical representation. AR could turn an ordinary textbook into an engaging 3D experience.
AI, AR and VR are a part of cutting-edge technology and innovation in the EdTech sector that help in ensuring education for all.
With the existing challenges of delivering inclusive learning to all, it is important to find ways to make education more accessible. This has been possible with the intervention of technology. The power of technology was witnessed during the pandemic, when online learning was the only go-to option. While the pandemic highlighted digital divide, technology infrastructures are bridging this gap across geographies and communities.
Uplifting marginalized communities
Integrating technology into school-level and higher education curricula is massively contributing to improving accessibility among marginalized communities across geographic locations. Technology is helping the education of children who cannot attend schools, that too from the comfort of their homes. Technology helps in educating girls, who drop out of schools in large numbers every day, due to societal norms and restrictions.
Educating differently abled students
One of the key benefits of technology is that it has improved accessibility to differently abled students. They can overcome the physical barrier of travelling to school or university. They can study in a comfortable environment and not drop out of school due to unavoidable circumstances. A recent report stated that a significant number of children with special needs dropped out of schools in Karnataka during the Covid19 pandemic. While the government has not conducted a survey to extract data on school dropouts by differently abled children, there is evidence.
Technology can help improve access and the quality of education. For differently abled students, multimedia elements like audio, video and 3D models can be used to deliver content as it helps them grasp complex concepts.
While technology is already helping improve access to education, there is a need to step up efforts to fully optimize its benefits. The government, EdTech firms and other world bodies are constantly working towards bringing technologically driven transformations in the education sector.
Education 4.0 India initiative
To put an end to the disparities in education in India, the World Economic Forum and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have joined hands to create the Education 4.0 India initiative. Meanwhile, UNICEF along with YuWaah (General Unlimited India) has been expanding educational opportunities for youth. The Education 4.0 India initiative aims to boost the efforts of the Indian government in bringing technological solutions to transform the education system. 40 partners from the education technology, government, academic and startup communities are jointly taking this initiative forward to build a robust strategy that is cost-effective and sustainable.
The KINDLE initiative
The Knowledge and Infromation Network for Digital Learning and Education (KINDLE) is another initiative focused on utilizing digital technologies to make education accessible to all. A joint effort by UNICEF and YuWaah, this initiative is driven by the aspirations of the National Education Policy (2020) and the National Digital Architecture of 2021. Led by path breaking EdTech firms, startups, leading educationalists and government and private sector, the initiative hopes to improve digital learning and make it sustainable.
Firstly, these initiatives aim to fill the major gap identified in foundational literacy and numeracy. Secondly, the focus is on teacher professional development, to upskill and train teachers for better content delivery. The next priority area is school-to-work transition, where tech-enabled curricula will help students prepare for the highly competitive job market.
These combined efforts are sure to improve access to education, quality of content delivery, and pave the way for a transformational education system in India.
Information related to companies and external organizations is based on secondary research or the opinion of individual authors and must not be interpreted as the official information shared by the concerned organization.
Additionally, information like fee, eligibility, scholarships, finance options etc. on offerings and programs listed on Online Manipal may change as per the discretion of respective universities so please refer to the respective program page for latest information. Any information provided in blogs is not binding and cannot be taken as final.
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